Pavement parking


Local authorities can use various physical measures to prevent or deter parking on the pavement. The purpose of this leaflet is to describe these physical measures and to outline their good and bad points.

Examples of pavement parking

  Examples of pavement parking


Parking on the pavement can cause inconvenience to pedestrians. It can create hazards for visually impaired, disabled and elderly people or those with prams or pushchairs. It may also cause damage to the kerb, the pavement, or the services underneath. Repairing such damage can be costly and local authorities may face claims for compensation for injuries received resulting from damaged or defective pavements.

In some areas pavement parking is prohibited by a local Act of Parliament, and it may be prohibited elsewhere in particular streets or parts of streets by traffic regulation orders. But enforcement may be a problem unless the local authority is able to take on the responsibility through the arrangements being developed under the Road Traffic Act 1991. The various physical measures described in this leaflet are however largely self-enforcing.

Physical measures which a highway authority may introduce

A variety of physical measures may be used to deter pavement parking. The choice between these measures depends upon: 

  1. desired effect;
  2. location;
  3. funds available;
  4. safety factors;
  5. aesthetic considerations;
  6. access requirements; and,
  7. need to consider requirements of disabled people, and not cause obstacles to their movements.

Guard Rails

Standard guard rails can be used to prevent pavement parking. Their disadvantage is that they limit where pedestrians can cross a road or where people from parked vehicles can get onto the pavement. They are not generally suitable unless for safety reasons the aim is to channel pedestrians to particular crossing points. Costs of guard railing can vary considerably, being from £45 per metre upwards. In some areas drivers have driven up onto the pavement inside the guard railing. This is dangerous and illegal and local authorities may wish to consider liaising with the police on measures which could be used to prevent it. Local authorities could erect bollards on the pavement close to dropped kerbs to stop drivers using it. Gaps between the bollards should not be less than 1.2m to allow wheelchair users or people with double buggies to pass.


These are particularly useful at raised junctions, where the carriageway is level with the pavement. They can be positioned to demarcate the edge of the carriageway, and provided gaps between bollards are not greater than 1.5m, vehicles are prevented from mounting the pavement. Where pedestrians are intended to cross, the gap may need to be greater to accommodate the pedestrian flow, or to meet the regulatory requirements of a controlled crossing. To assist visually impaired people the bollards should not be less than 1m in height, and should incorporate a clear colour contrast around the top. Costs of bollards will vary enormously depending on the type and form of the bollards required. Indicative costs range from £40 for a concrete filled steel bollard to about £110 for a cast iron bollard.

Amenity Railings

This is an open railing, constructed from a continuous 50mm diameter tubing, to form a unit 1.5m to 2.5m long, and approximately 1m in height. Gaps, no wider than 1.5m, are provided between individual units to allow pedestrian movements. Visually impaired cane users may not so easily detect the presence of amenity railing, but colour banding along the tubing will give partially sighted people some warning. Costs for supply and erection will vary, but will be in the order of £30 per metre of each unit.

Low Railings

These consist of railing no more than 0.5m high, supported by posts 3m apart. The posts will generally not be more than 0.9m high. Gaps can be left for pedestrian use, but the low height of the railing may cause difficulties for visually impaired people. This type of fencing is generally best when used in conjunction with landscaping where the aim is to keep pedestrians away from the carriageway.

Raised Planters

If space allows, fixed or movable planters can be used to form an effective barrier to vehicles parking on pavements. The design should avoid causing problems for visually impaired pedestrians: the height and positioning are particularly important. The planters should not make it difficult for pedestrians to see or be seen by approaching traffic. The carriageway should have waiting restrictions on it to discourage people from getting in and out of vehicles. Costs will vary considerably according to materials used and lengths involved. Costs of maintaining and replacing plants will also need to be taken into account.

High Kerbs

These normally take the form of a double kerb, with the higher kerb being set slightly back. The Trief Kerb, which is also a safety kerb, with a shape which can deflect vehicles, would also be appropriate for this purpose. It can be dangerous for people to cross roads where there are high kerbs. Pedestrian crossing points (with facilities for disabled people) may need to be considered as part of this package. Similarly, people should not be permitted to get in or out of vehicles where there are high kerbs. Rates for providing and laying double kerbs are in the order of £30 per metre, but this does not include any accommodation works to the pavement.

Textured Surfaces

These can take a variety of forms, from large cobbles to brick on edge, as well as some specially designed types of paving. The paving will normally need to be at least a metre in width. It should not be laid where it would inconvenience or cause a danger to pedestrians, particularly disabled people and wheelchair users.

Prices will depend on many variables, particularly the materials and areas to be treated. Generally this is one of the most expensive methods.

Formalised On Street Parking

In narrow streets where drivers tend to park partly on the pavement along both sides, it may be better to provide properly marked out spaces on just one side of the carriageway. If the marked out spaces are provided in short lengths along alternate sides of the road they can form a chicane and have the effect of reducing vehicle speeds.

Traffic Calming Measures

Traffic calming schemes can include changing the use of street space. By marking out areas for parking, such schemes can discourage parking on pavements. Some examples are given in Design Bulletin 32 issued by the DOT and DOE.

Street Furniture

Careful positioning of street furniture can often prevent vehicles getting onto pavements without inconveniencing pedestrians. Litter bins, which may be commercially sponsored, can be added to reduce gaps which vehicles might otherwise use to get onto the pavement. To assist visually impaired people, the litter bins should not be less than 1m in height, and should incorporate a clear colour contrast around the top.

Disabled People

The needs of disabled people must be taken into account. Careful planning of physical measures is required to ensure that people with disabilities can get about safely and independently. The Institution of Highway and Transportation's publication "Reducing Mobility Handicaps: Towards a Barrier Free Environment", provides comprehensive advice on this subject.


The Traffic Advisory Unit (TAU) is multi-disciplinary group working within the Traffic Policy Division in the Department of Transport. TAU seeks to promote the most effective traffic management and parking techniques for the benefit, safety and convenience of all road users.

TAU sponsors a wide range of research into traffic management issues, much of it undertaken by the Transport Research Laboratory.

Enquiries and requests for unpriced TAU publications to:
Traffic Policy Division, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 3EB, Telephone: 0171-276-6286